Modern Poetry Essay

1456 words - 6 pages

The early Twentieth century saw the rise of many new poetic movements, which can also be considered “-isms,” some of which were Imagism and Objectivism. Imagism came about in 1909 just as the Twentieth century was beginning and was successor to the symbolism movement. While symbolism consisted of intense complexity and was often difficult to interpret, Imagism brought about intellect and emotions in the common language of the Twentieth century audience. As in Ezra Pound’s, “In a Station of the Metro,” she writes, “faces in a crowd;” which was not only a common sight in the early Twentieth century, but also common language of the people of the time? In addition, Imagism consisted of much freedom of the subject upon which it was written and of sight and sound usage. Opposing its predecessor, Imagism created an image rather than an entire scene or picture. “In a Station of the Metro” consists of two lines that express a simple image of every day, Twentieth century life. It creates and provides the images of multiple “faces in the crowd;” and “Petals on a wet, black bough,” as opposed to describing the entire metro station or the tree in whole. In the creation of the single image, imagism also kept the language simple in respect that it was very punctual and often terse just as the two lines of “In a Station of the Metro.”
Imagism soon gave rise to another “-ism”; Objectivism. Just as Imagism, Objectivism consisted of simple language and terse subjects; it was short, sweet, and to the point. Objectivists, such as William Carlos Williams, often stressed the value of the objective world. In his poem, “This Is Just to Say,” Williams expresses the value of “the plums that were in the icebox.” Objective poetry was meant to capture the thing about which it was written and then turn the actual thing into a poem. Williams uses “the plums” as his objective thing which upon surface glance seems to just be “the plums in the icebox.” However, he turns “the plums” into poetry themselves by making “the plums” a metaphor for perhaps a woman’s virginity and thus, making the poem more than just a poem about plums but rather about a one night stand. Regardless of the interpretation, “This Is Just to Say” keeps the objective world simple in the common language and refrains from forcing a meaning upon itself just as Objective poetry did.

The Tributaries of Modern Poetry, Formalists, Informalists and Confessionals, each are separate expressions of common emotion. Formalists, as the title expresses, used sincere and disciplined forms such as Shakespearean and Petrachan Sonnets, Villanelles and Sestinas. However, poetry was considered more of an art itself than an expression of emotion. Formalists, such as Edna St. Vincent Millay, were enslaved to the discipline of meter, rhyme and subject and considered their poetry a discipline achieved only by a few, elite poets. Thus, poets considered Formalist poetry above the common people. As expressed in her poem,...

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